Parents fill many roles in the lives of their children, but one role they are not to fill is to be their child’s best friend and lifelong playmate. Today’s parent often has many responsibilities outside the home, including part- or full-time employment, which leaves precious little time for family life. Nevertheless, no matter how tired he or she is at the end of the day, he or she is still the parent, and no one else can fulfill that role.
As a teacher, protector, and provider of her children, a parent needs to focus on the following:
- A child must be taught to be compassionate and to empathize with others.
- A child must be taught how to act appropriately in various settings.
- A child must be taught to respect authority and know how to appeal to authority when needed.
- A child must be taught that every decision he or she makes has consequences and that those consequences will appear sooner or later.
- A child must be taught how to wisely give of themselves to others.
- A child must be taught how to handle conflict.
- A child must be taught how to be grateful and how to appropriately express their gratitude.
- A child must be protected from a life that is too busy to enjoy their childhood.
- A child must be provided a home that is a sanctuary from the storms of life—a safe place to be nurtured physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- A child must be taught that personal integrity is more important than fame or fortune.
To provide a child with these core values requires the greatest investment: time. We cannot pass off this responsibility to a coach, school, church, or nanny. Children learn by watching us and will do as we do, not as we say. A mom shared with me how angry her teenage son had become over her calling clients to discuss business every time they were in the car together. Her view was that they were spending time together; his view was that she would rather be with someone else.
A parent’s words can encourage a child to attempt a new activity, to press a little harder to reach a goal, to calm a moment of distress, or bind up a broken heart; they can also dash a dream and pierce the heart with pain. We must guard our words so they give life, and look for creative ways to express them.
Monica wrote these words to her adult daughter: “Kayla, you are like a pillar. Your inner strength amazes me. You have grown into such a beautiful and strong woman. You make me smile, and I am very proud of you. My love for you runs deep. Keep going for your dreams! You are a world changer!”
Monica said that she has learned that there is no greater investment in her children than her words. The cost is only a few moments of her time. When others use words to try to hurt her children, she is confident that her words will rise up, overrule, and remind them, “My mom says . . . !”
Take time to write a few words of affirmation to your child. They will be a constant reminder of who they are, their destiny, their value, and how much they are loved. Our words and life example will be engraved on their heart and spirit forever and will provide the support they need to face the many challenges of life.
©2013 What Would Mrs King Do? If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog, you may do so. Please include our credit information: Written by Deborah King, What Would Mrs King Do? © Copyright 2013. I would also appreciate it if you would send us a copy for our files to [email protected]